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Lecture 5

CRM 1301 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Wage Labour, Industrial Revolution, Moral Panic


Department
Criminology
Course Code
CRM 1301
Professor
Carolyn Gordon
Lecture
5

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CRM Lecture 5
Marxist Criminology
“Laws are like spider webs; if anything small falls into them they ensnare it, but large things
break through and escape”. (Solon)
Karl Marx (1818-1883) Personal Context
Jewish heritage but converted to Christianity
- His father wanted to protect his family, they converted
- He later came to reject all types of religion
- He had a good friend in a university that study the bible
- The study found out that everything was only a myth, his friend got kicked out of the
university
Marginal social location
- Many of his ideas were criticized
- Lived his life in exile, moved constantly
- Wandering scholar
- He was a poor guy with no stable job
Not concerned with the behaviours of the poor
- He himself lived in poverty so he wasn’t too concerned with them
- He saw the world in a very cognitive lens
- His theory has a sensitizing ability
- He brought the idea that there needs to be focus on the higher class rather than the lower
class
Social Context
Industrial revolution
- Unemployment
o Large divide of rich and poor
o Incrouged people to move to urban towns
o Demand for people to operate the machines
o There is actually is not enough work for people
o High rates with unemployment
- Poverty
o People cant meet the necessaities of life
o A lot of people living on the streets, a lot of diases, dirty roads
o Even those with jobs had bad working conditions and really bad pay
o Life at the time was very harsh
o Big discrepancy in weath
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o Society is divided into class
o Great deal of inequality
3Classes
- Bourgeoisie / Capitalist: those that owns the factories and media
- Proletariat: the workers
- Lumpenproletariat: the large number of unemployed people, they cant be counted on for
the contributing to the current society
Capitalism
- Economic system of wage-labour and commodity production for sale and profit
- Economic system of wage labour and …. For profit
- Private ownership to produce goods and service
- Trying to max profit
- They are always trying to make the most dollars
- They are paid only a fraction of what the product they make
There is constant competition within the high class for profit
i.e. ford was making a car, but when hit from behind the car would catch on fire, they knew
about this issue and had a new model but didn’t change it
- it would have cost them more money
- if they did they would have save many lives and prevent injuries
- they put profit ahead of customer safety
-
The Conflict Perspective
Focuses on the unequal distribution of power in society
Marx is under this perspective
Conflict is inherit in society
Due to unequal access to certain necessity
The law in both its codification and its application is not neutral but reflects the interest of
and benefits the powerful segments of society
Not all groups are equal
Those in control will make the laws to rule in their favour
They repress the lower class
Those that upset the status quo, the law then kicks in to prevent that from happening
Consensus perspective think that its all fair and everything is equal
Law and the Consensus Perspective
The law is the codification of dominant social values and its application functions to benefit
the majority
The justice system is to benefit the majority of the people
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Level of Analysis
Macro approach
- Focuses on how society reactions and not to specific individuals
- Focuses on social structure
- Looks at the bigger picture
- Focuses on social structure and the impact they have
Critical theory
- The system is broken and needs to be changed
- Questions existing social arrangements
- Rather than accepting everything they look at the world at a less conservative way
- They question tradition
- They step out of the box and look through a different lens
Questions asked by Critical Theorists?
Why are some groups in society more likely to be targeted/arrested and/or labelled as
criminals
- Social stereotypes, race, gender
- Group that threatens the upper class
- Easy scapegoats to put the blame on someone else
- Those that are more vulnerable
- Diverting the attention from higher to lower class people
- Young black male, poor, aboriginals, minorities, religion, mentally ill
Who sets the rules?
- i.e. who determines that marijuana is illegal
Video
“The war on drugs”, cocaine wars
Are mandatory sentences fair
How the punishment may not fit the crime
African American are receiving unfair sentences
Issues arise with crack when babies were born with issues because of crack
Crack was seen as the most serious threats
The government gave mandatory sentences that were very serious
Why is it not seen as a Problem?
Marx is not concerned with what most people are concerned with
He is concerned with suit crimes, corporate or white collar
Crimes that are more affluent
White collar: crime of the upper class, it benefits themselves (financial gain), committed by
people and professional and higher purpose
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